One holiday season, California resident Jenson Crawford took a seasonal job as a dancing Christmas tree in the Christmas parade at Disneyland. The gig required him to work two parades a day every weekend in November and get an elf-esque haircut.
“I wasn't looking for a job that included green tights as part of the uniform or that was a split shift,” Crawford admits. “But the job paid for my Christmas presents for my friends and family and even provided some extra money to start the new year.”
This year, both unemployed and employed Americans are looking for seasonal work that will help with the holiday bills. The good news is that despite the slow economy, many retailers are hiring.
A survey conducted by consulting firm Hay Group in September found that 83% of retailers planned to hire more or about the same number of workers when compared to the 2009 holiday season, a sentiment that rings true when you look at the number of opportunities advertised by major retail chains.
Best Buy (Stock Quote: BBY), JCPenney (Stock Quote: JCP), Target (Stock Quote: TGT) and Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT), for example have all announced plans to hire the same number of seasonal employees this year as they did last. Macy’s (Stock Quote: M) and Toys ‘R’ Us (Stock Quote: have actually said they will add jobs.
“The number of employees being hired this year is consistent with those hired over the last few years,” says Allison Nawoj, corporate communications director of CareerBuilder.com, who also pointed out that this is not to say the market is not competitive. In fact, Nawoj says, you can expect the competition this year to be stiffer. The Hay Group survey, for example, found that 43% of respondents expect to see more applicants this holiday season than in 2009.
“It’s definitely harder this year to find a seasonal job than it has been in years past,” Nick Jimenez , executive vice president of Climber.com agrees, adding that some of the smaller retailers who advertise on his jobs site have already started to say that they have enough applicants. “Retail stores are inundated by people looking for work.”